Pak-Afghan relations: The way forward

August 14, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

Students

 

By

Fehmeedah Khalid

Today it was announced that due to recent developments and the evolving security situation in Afghanistan, it has been decided that the Pakistan government will indefinitely postpone the scholarship process for the year 2015-2016, it earlier being agreed that 3000 scholarships would be made available to Afghan students this year.

It is not difficult to understand why Pakistan has taken this decision to suspend scholarships for Afghani students. A series of events have taken place from the last week of July to the present day. From the announced death of Mullah Omar, the suspension of peace talks, the prevailing rift among the Taliban and the declining security situation in Afghanistan, all lead to the deterioration of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Afghan president gave very a hard statement that last Friday’s Shah Shaheed bombing in Kabul was unacceptable and was a game changer for the country. He further said the only message he was getting from Pakistan was one of war and that, so long as there was bloodshed in the country, the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan meant nothing.

In addition to this, Abdullah Abdullah, on Monday stated there had been no sign of Pakistan’s cooperation in relation to Afghanistan’s war on terror, nor with peace talk initiatives in recent months. These harsh statements and blame games convinced Pakistan to suspend the scholarship for Afghan students.

Former ambassador, Amb (r) Rustam Shah said in a conference that there is a need to invest in the public of Afghanistan rather than on personalities, that being the only key to pursue good relations in future. Basically, governments come and go, individuals can change with time and the only best investment is in the people. If we really want to build good relations with Afghanistan then we should invest in the public, India presently using its ‘soft’ power in Afghanistan, while serving to the Afghan people through the building of schools, hospitals and parks etc.

In my view, we should invest in the Afghan people and, instead of suspending scholarships, should increase it in the coming days to attract more and more students to come to Pakistan. It is the only way to show them the true picture of Pakistan; it is the only way we can reduce the deficit of trust in future, aiming for good relations with Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

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Fehmeedah Khalid

The writer has completed her M.Phil  degree in Defense and strategic Studies from Qaid-i-Azam University. Currently she is associated with a Think Tank and focusing on Fata and Afghanistan. She is available on fehmeedahkhalid@hotmail.com or you can tweet her @FehmeedahK.

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